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Nov 20, 2015 5:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Library Seeking To Build New $13.3 Million Facility

The Board of Directors at the Hampton Bays Public Library are seeking to demolish the current facility and build a bigger one in its place. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Nov 23, 2015 6:52 PM

The Hampton Bays Public Library Board of Directors intends to put up a bond referendum this spring asking taxpayers to pay for the current library to be demolished and a new one built in its place.

The board started soliciting opinions from hamlet residents in August and determined that the community would like to see the current library knocked down and replaced with a new two-story facility, explained Library Director Susan LaVista.

The project, previously dubbed by library officials as Plan F, is expected to cost about $13.3 million and financed with a 20-year bond. Therefore, the taxes for average hamlet residents, whose properties are assessed at $400,000, would go up by $108 per year for the life of the bond to help pay for the work.

The plan calls for a new 24,000-square-foot building to be constructed on the 1.3-acre lot. The new library would also benefit from 34 new parking spaces, upping the total number of available spots to 101.

While the new building is being constructed, the library would have to close until approximately the middle of 2019, according to preliminary estimates. During that time, officials would temporarily rent another building in the hamlet to house the library and its programming.

Ms. LaVista said in an email Friday that the board would begin reaching out to commercial property owners in January, though the referendum will not be scheduled until the spring. The board has not selected a date for the vote yet.

“After numerous meetings and reaching out to community groups, the board feels that they have a clear direction from the community,” Ms. LaVista said.

She explained that the library board is currently working on a preliminary State Environmental Quality Review Act with Southampton Town to make sure they are permitted to construct the new, bigger building there. Once that process is finished, the board will schedule a referendum vote to ask taxpayers if they would like to see, and pay for, the new facility.

The library board started asking the community about possible renovations to the facility in April. At that meeting, the board teamed up with Victor Canseco, owner of Sandpebble Builders in Southampton, to ask taxpayers what renovations and upgrades they would like to see in the library. Some of the most coveted amenities that those in attendance wanted included additional space for programs and staff offices, as well as an upgraded HVAC system and additional parking.

After the meeting Mr. Canseco and the board looked at what the taxpayers would like to see done and created seven different plans using those suggestions. The plans ranged in cost from $1 million, to complete minor fixes, to $14.4 million, which called for selling the Ponquogue Avenue building and constructing a new library elsewhere in the hamlet. The plan going up for a referendum vote this spring was the second most expensive plan pitched, with an estimated cost of $13.3 million.

Ms. LaVista and the library board decided that the best way to choose a plan was to first hold a series of informational meetings to get feedback from those who would be paying for the upgrades. In August they held the first of three informational meetings, led by Mr. Canseco, to collect feedback. After the last meeting, held on September 3, board members said they still needed more input, so they attended the September Hampton Bays Beautification Association meeting to reach more residents. Ms. LaVista said she also met independently with other local groups, including the Hampton Bays Rotary Club, to get input from additional taxpayers before moving forward with the plan.

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You have to be kidding me, anybody ever hear of the internet? iBooks? This is tantamount to expanding your horseshoe business after the mass production of automobiles. $108 per year, at the low end - PLEASE VOTE THIS DOWN!
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Nov 20, 15 9:01 PM
3 members liked this comment
$108 a year for how many years? And the library will be closed till mid 2019. Think we can find better uses for our tax dollars. Vote no!
By nytractor (15), hampton bays on Nov 21, 15 9:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
20 years of debt
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Nov 21, 15 9:41 AM
It is baffling to me that the Library can report in good faith that the “community” wants a new library. What community are they referring to? Is it the 150 or so random attendees that attended the library meetings? This is certainly not representative of the 14,000 residents and 5,000 homeowners of Hampton Bays. As an attendee to one of those meetings, I can tell you that the Library has no supporting documentation as to who these random attendees are except for a sign in sheet ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Nov 21, 15 9:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Curious, what the increase in the operating budget (utility costs, inventory, and increased staffing costs) would be projected at?
By RCBT (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 21, 15 1:36 PM
This is outrageous,the homeowners of Hampton Bays and our civic groups must stop this fiscal insanity,There is more the adequate space and I invite any one to pick up a copy of the Library schedule and see how far the management has strayed away from the purpose of a library,now you can practice reikie,yoga,zumba and on and on,No I do not want to bay another dime in taxees to subsadise these select groups,enough is enough.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Nov 21, 15 2:40 PM
2 members liked this comment
I love when people say the locals are being pushed out, because of higher taxes. Spend, spend, spend
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 22, 15 9:35 AM
We need more outrage!!!!! We need to start an online petition and writing letters to the trustees. Let's sell the building and start an E-Library for the community where residents can read check-out and return book online.

Remind these trustees about what happened to the horse & buggy, 8 track music, the cassette player, CD's, the VCR, the fax machine, the USPS, etc, etc.


By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 15 9:44 AM
Oh no....32 cents a day to create a bigger and better Community Center. STOP THE OUTRAGE NOW!
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 15 10:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Have to love people like you, it's not $13M+++ wasted - it's 32 cents a day and all of a sudden it's a community center. I can think of a ton of things I'd rather spend my 32 cents a day for the next 20 or 30 years than this ridiculous project.

Are you the guy still printing and distributing the Yellow Pages?
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 15 11:05 AM
My point was that about 150 of almost 14,000 random people showed up to a meeting and the Library Board decides that that represents the community. I believe that they need to do their due diligence and exercise their fiduciary responsibility to the approximately 5,000 taxpaying homeowners. I believe that there other taxpayer funded bricks and mortar that can be used for the book clubs and chair yoga classes.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 15 11:27 AM
Clearly, something is out of balance. There are a lot of great points in the posts! I very much value a good public library such as the one we currently have. I feel that Plan F does not make sense. It is always nice to have something new. However, sometimes it isn’t practical. Consider the following points:
- $108 additional taxes per year (per $400k assessment) for 20 years adds to the already high taxes (77% of which is for the school system at $5,255 per $400k assessment)!
- ...more
By rtannhau (1), BRIDGEWATER on Nov 22, 15 2:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
i also need 13 million dollars to open a blockbuster.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Nov 22, 15 8:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
High school taxes, and now added Library taxes. Locals, say goodby to Hampton Bays. You won't be able to afford to live there. Another Southampton
Village where the local population is dwindling, and that community is being taken over by second home owners from NYC. The new library in Hampton Bays as a result of the ever increasing taxes will be empty during the winter
months. Hampton Bays will become a bedroom community for the wealthy.
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Nov 23, 15 9:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
I respectfully disagree about blaming the NYC folks for this one. I was at one of the meeting and it didn't seem to be NYC folks. It seemed to be mostly clients of the Library. There were several senior citizens who have earned my respect, but got insulted when I suggested they could take their card games and book clubs over to the "senior" center and what may have been some young parents who wanted some more after school activities. The moderator, the consultant, emphasized that it would ONLY ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Nov 24, 15 7:52 AM
Yes, good point. Let's put this in perspective: The current school district budget is about $50 million. The library budget? Just over 2 million. The cost for a complete rebuild of the library, is ONE QUARTER what the school spends in A SINGLE YEAR. You're barking up the wrong tree
By JAD11968 (7), Southampton on Jan 23, 16 4:58 PM
Yes let's put things in prospective. The HB taxpayers are paying for a $16 million bond to make improvements and repair the school. Capital budgets are not operating budgets. Accounting 101
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 16 5:52 PM
Wow. Do any of the above posters actually USE the library on a regular basis? If they did, they would know the following facts: 1. The HVAC system is a complete nightmare. It is constantly malfunctioning and is incredibly inefficient. 2. The roof is in bad shape and, like the HVAC, is consistently being patched and fixed. The ceiling tiles are falling down - sometimes on top of the staff. Why? Water is leaking in through many cracks of the roof and foundation. So there's also a mold problem. Why ...more
By JAD11968 (7), Southampton on Jan 23, 16 4:48 PM
The costs were estimated at $1 million collars to complete all the repairs. That is far less that $13 million dollars. The 20,000 square foot of usable space is in structural sound condition. I reviewed the minutes of the Board - there was ONE complaint in the year that the card group was "inconvenienced." - no reports of overcrowding. However, 3 employees complained of problems and now the taxpayers are paying for a security guard
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 16 5:47 PM
And is it really your argument that HB taxpayers are drowning in school taxes so it is "no big deal" to spent another $13 million on a wasteful construction project? Wow is right.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 16 10:07 AM
I actually had to pause for a moment and have a good laugh before I replied to you (wipes brow). Phew. OK, here we go: Yes, the building is structurally sound, meaning that if there were an earthquake, it would probably still stand. Since you've been reading the board reports, I'm sure you've seen the many, many repairs that are constantly being done to the building. There are only so many band-aids you can slap on a gaping wound. That $1M you're talking about is just a bigger band-aid. You should ...more
By JAD11968 (7), Southampton on Jan 24, 16 5:03 PM
Nope! Not what I said at all...where did you get that? You sure do make a lot of assumptions. My point is that the school regularly spends (and wastes) an insane amount of tax money. But the one time the public library needs a hand, the reaction is outrage like yours. It's just the wrong tree to bark up.
By JAD11968 (7), Southampton on Jan 24, 16 5:09 PM
As a responsible taxpayer and a C.P.A., I actually went to a library forum. Are you saying the consultant's estimate of repairs is not correct? Why did the Board advertise the first meeting in April as a meeting to discuss $1 million of repairs? I am a responsible prudent taxpayer of HB and just because you belief that if there is wasted spending in the schools that should give the library the right to waste money. I am willing to invest in the community but not waste money.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 16 5:15 PM